The Story of a Childhood

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Summary of Persepolis 

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. (Summary from Amazon)


It's rare for me to read a graphic novel. To date, I do believe Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang are the only two I've ever read. I usually prefer to read traditional novels. That being said, I do think Persepolis was well written.

I teach a contemporary literature class and decided I wanted my students to read a graphic novel because I view them as being contemporary. I chose Persepolis because I wanted to broaden my students' view of the world, especially of the Middle East. With all of the news coverage on what the US should do about the situation in Iran, I think it is important for my students to know the history of how Iran came to be the place it is today. In the introduction of the book, author Satrapi explains that she wrote Persepolis to show the world that Iran is not full of extremist terrorists.

Along with being one of the few graphic novels I've read, Persepolis also happens to be the first memoir I've read. Satrapi pulls no punches and doesn't hide anything about what life was like growing up as a child and teenager in Iran. She mixes humor with the stark realities of regime changes and the Iran-Iraq war. Her childlike innocent retelling of historical events highlights the often senseless violence and cruelties of the world in which we live. 

If you're interested in learning more about Iran's history, Persepolis is the book for you.

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